Friday, March 11, 2016

But...where's the steeple?

The Word for today:
Matthew 18:1-35
mark this:  Matthew 18:20--
"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
Q. What is the "church?"
A. The church is the body of Christ:
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (1)
Q. What does the church look like?
A. It looks like this:
"Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." (2)
Q. But…where’s the steeple?
A. Two or three, seated at a picnic table in the park, gathered in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and redeemed by His blood--fulfill the Scriptural definition of the true church.
Two or three thousand, gathered together in a lavish sanctuary, under a splendid steeple topped by a shimmering cross—may or may not fulfill the Scriptural definition of a true church.
Q. What's the difference?
A. The difference is Jesus. A live church is connected to the resurrected Head--Jesus Christ.
A cadaver church is disconnected from the living, breathing Christ. They might talk a lot about him, but he's more of a concept than a Person. Here's how Jesus described the cadaver church:
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (3)
If you are in a "Lord, Lord" church which stresses running around doing all kinds of charitable acts but does not point the way to the cross of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin, you are in a church which has a form of godliness, but lacks the power thereof (4), leaving many dead in sins and trespasses (5). Busy as busy can be in their pursuit of what the Bible calls dead works (6), they can appear to be alive, but they are disconnected from the Head.
If you are in that kind of a chicken-with-its-head-cut-off  "church," then I invite you to join me at Outwater Park.  I'll bring Shelley along and, if you've never gone to the cross, we'll point the way.
Having been to the cross, you're in church.   So if there's you, me, and Shelley -- we'll need four places at the table.
(1) 1 Corinthians 12:13; (2) Matthew 18:20; (3) Matthew 7:21-23; (4) 2 Timothey 3:5; (5) Ephesians 2:1; (6) Hebrews 6:1; 9:14

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